Low-Cost Water Purification System: Developing an Effective Water Purification System for Local Production Which Offers Sustainable Economic Stimulus

EPA Grant Number: SU833176
Title: Low-Cost Water Purification System: Developing an Effective Water Purification System for Local Production Which Offers Sustainable Economic Stimulus
Investigators: Khalili, N. R. , Acevedo, Joaquin , Cernauskas, Debbie , Grimmer, Laura , Ortiz, Enrique
Current Investigators: Acevedo, Joaquin , Gilliam, Amanda , Grimmer, Laura , Hadou, Katherine , Ikonomov, Petre , Lemley, Shea , Lloyd, Brandon , Ortiz, Enrique , Ramirez, Eugineo , Reyes, Fernando , Staley, Samantha , Topgi, Snehalata
Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2006 through May 30, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


A recent World Health Organization report estimates that a child dies every six seconds from a water-related disease, and that over five million people die annually due to unsafe drinking water. To begin addressing these issues, we have assembled a team of students to research and design a novel water purification system and new methods of sustainability and local economic stimulus. We aim to develop a water purification system which is based on the use of clay material as a means of reducing bacteria and other pollutants such as nitrates in drinking water. The final product will be designed to be assembled from local materials by local potters in Mexico, thus generating income in the community. Our product will offer exceptional sustainability. Instead of creating a product to be sold in developing companies, we will act as an agent to empower local people to build and sell these products in their local community. Improving health and quality of life for people living in developing countries is our primary goal. Development of a locally produced and distributed water purification system will greatly reduce the cost, thus removing the economic barrier to accessing safe drinking water. Likewise, all profits made from sales of the product will stay in the local economy, thereby generating income and sustaining local prosperity. Water purification education about the impact of pollutants on local water and health promotes planetary environmental consciousness. Initially, funding is requested for research and design of a novel water purification system, market research on a test community, communication with our partners in Monterrey, Mexico and expenses associated sending a team to present in Washington DC. We will use later funding to implement our program in our test market. Results will be measured by the effectiveness of the product in purifying water and the extent of utilization by test market communities. This work will be initially pioneered as part of IIT’s InterProfessional Projects Program (IPRO), which supports interdisciplinary teams addressing real-world problems. Future and continued collaboration with IIT’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Chapter will also be essential to success of this project. By utilizing the interdisciplinary organizations already established at IIT, we will dramatically increase student awareness of health-related engineering problems.

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water, health and economic development, nitrates, bacteria, innovative technology, developing countries, sustainable development,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Geographic Area, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, International, Environmental Engineering, Country & Regional Programs, environmental technology, sustainable development, clean technologies, green design, sustainable water use, drinking water, environmental sustainability, clay water filters, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report